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Japan and North Korea need to go the extra mile in order to lay the path ahead

Japan and North Korea need to go the extra mile in order to lay the path ahead

Ri Kuk-Chol and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Japan and North Korea have had a frosty relationship for far too long and it is hoped that officials from both nations will have laid the foundation stone for genuinely turning the corner. Of course, expectations are not too high because of countless stumbling blocks on both sides. However, if officials from Japan and North Korea can overcome genuine concerns and at least start to “walk together,” even if not in complete unison, then this will be positive.

North Korea must understand that negative relations with Japan only serve the enemies of Pyongyang. Likewise, political leaders in Tokyo have recently witnessed the “nationalist switch” in China and South Korea respectively. Therefore, it is clear in Tokyo that the only “trusted friend” in the region is Taiwan. Yet if the “Chinese economic bandwagon” one day swallows this island economically, then even this solace may be taken away.

The Russian Federation is also a central nation in the geopolitical reality of Northeast Asia and throughout other parts of Asia. After all, political elites in Moscow fully understand the geopolitical importance of Central Asia and developing strong ties with China and India respectively. At the same time the geopolitical importance of Mongolia is fully understood in the Russian Federation. Therefore, Japan should overcome its petty nationalist tendencies towards this major power and seek a solution to the disputed areas, which continue to hinder a powerful friendship based on mutual trust.

Turning back to events covering the talks today between officials from Japan and North Korea, it is obvious that both nations need to “break their respective chains.” The new political leader in North Korea can show the world that he is open to sweeping geopolitical changes alongside supporting genuine economic reforms with the help of China. Given this reality, Kim Jong-un can genuinely try to reach the masses based on the similar motives of Deng Xiaoping in China when he came to power.

The Chief Cabinet Secretary of Japan, Osamu Fujimura, stated prior to the meeting that “The abduction issue will be included as a matter of course.” Likewise, Koichiro Gemba, Foreign Minister of Japan, spoke in a similar vein when he stated that “We’d like to ask the North Korean side to positively work on pending issues between the two countries including the abduction issue.”

However, despite the seriousness of this issue it is clear that political leaders in Tokyo must move towards a more broad approach. Surely, other more important issues like the nuclear angle, geopolitical concerns, testing military hardware and building economic bridges must outweigh the continuing stumbling blocks. Once other developments move forward then naturally North Korea will be more forthcoming.

Japan must understand that millions of Koreans died defending Korean nationalism from Japanese imperialism and then against American aggression during the Korean War. After the brutal Korean War the United States then supported successive authoritarian governments in South Korea before the onset of democracy in this nation. It is too easy to point the finger at North Korea but the reality is that all nations have their own histories and outside forces led to a siege mentality in Pyongyang – but this siege mentality was not based on whims but on hard facts related to history.

Japan and North Korea need to forgo the historical and political obstacles in order to radically alter the situation. Osamu Fujimura stated that “We have been working based on the principle of settling the unfortunate past and on restoring normal relations.”

The new leader of North Korea showed sincerity by allowing a group of nationals from Japan to reclaim loved ones who died because of the tragic events of World War Two. Sadao Masaki, who is part of this group, commented that “Things have proceeded to a stage that is beyond what we had even hoped for. We are extremely grateful.”

In another article by Modern Tokyo Times about relations between Japan and North Korea, it was stated thatSome analysts are indicating that North Korea is reaching out because of current tensions between Japan and other regional nations based on territorial issues. For example harsh comments have been made by the leader of South Korea towards Japan in recent times. However, this is too cynical because the new leader of North Korea must be judged on what happens during his leadership.”

Analysts in Japan and North Korea are eagerly awaiting the outcome and clearly major powers throughout the region will be watching events closely. It is only hoped that political leaders in Japan and North Korea will move forward by showing sincerity and mutual respect.

 

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

 

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South Korea, Japan and US fashion styles by Kpopsicle: Stunning international fashion

South Korea, Japan and US fashion styles by Kpopsicle: Stunning international fashion

Kanako Itamae and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times 

Kpopsicle (http://kpopsicle.com) is an amazing online fashion store which caters for stylish ladies who want to connect with the vibes of South Korea, America and Japan. Of course, the styles of these buzzing nations appeal internationally and this is the beauty of Kpopsicle. Therefore, this online fashion company provides stunning female fashion products all year round.

The Kpopsicle website is user-friendly and is updated regularly in order to connect with their client base and to highlight the latest trends hitting the streets of Seoul, Tokyo, New York and other vibrant cities. Also, images of items are extremely clear and taken from different angles in order that viewers can get a real feel about the product being viewed.

On the Kpopsicle website this company states that “We focus on stylish and trendy designs” and this is clearly true. Immediately on entering the website ladies will find an abundance of images and products to search. True to the words of Kpopsicle it is clear that this adorable online fashion company does focus on stylish and trendy designs which will appeal to ladies all over the world.

The models at Kpopsicle are extremely stylish and always highlight the lovely fabrics being used. Also, the color schemes and care of each product is more than noticeable. This means that not only is the Kpopsicle website user-friendly but more important everything seems so natural because the styles appeal greatly. Therefore, you have a lovely online fashion store whereby individuals can buy stunning products at the click of a button once studying the products from different angles on the Kpopsicle website.

International fashion styles hitting the streets of South Korea, Japan and the United States can be felt within the fashion on show. Of course Kpopsicle appeals to trendy female fashion lovers all over the world irrespective of nation. This is the beauty of Kpopsicle because they understand the latest trends and how to relate to fashion lovers.

In recent years the K-pop music angle keeps on growing therefore South Korean culture is in vogue and gaining more international headlines. This is rightly so because Korean culture is blessed with an amazing history. True to the nature of this country you have a culture which is rich in history but which is also ultra modern. Therefore, South Korean culture is ultra modern, vibrant, sophisticated and is connecting internationally. Not surprisingly, the fashion angle of South Korean fashion is also growing in strength because of all the above factors.

Kpopsicle fashion focuses on many different styles which relate to the modern fashion scene. This means that you can feel the latest trends running throughout the K-pop music scene through the fashion products that they sell. Kpopsicle fashion also focuses on elegance, sophisticated looks, streetwise fashion and a plethora of styles which are hitting the streets of major cities throughout South Korea, Japan and the United States.

Indeed, in Tokyo you can envisage the Kpopsicle fashion angle easily when you walk around fashionable districts like Harajuku, Ikebukuro, Shinjuku, Shibuya and other amazing places in Tokyo. This is the beauty of Kpopsicle and this applies to the “instant connection” which can be felt when viewing their website.

 

The vibrant nature of K-pop with amazing groups and soloists like Girls’ Generation, BoA, Kan Mi Youn, T-ara, Kara, Orange Caramel, Sistar, G.Na, After School, A-Pink and a plethora of others can be felt within the fashion angle of Kpopsicle. Therefore, if you adore female fashion and the “Korean Cool” angle then Kpopsicle fashion will appeal to you.

Kpopsicle simply means style and vibrancy which connects easily within the complexity of international fashion. The reason Kpopsicle can connect easily with international fashion is because this online company understands the current trends hitting major international cities. Therefore, with a click of a button on your computer you have an adorable fashion company to view and then buy amazing and beautiful products.

 

http://kpopsicle.com Kpopsicle

ALL IMAGES BELONG TO KPOPSICLE

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

 
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Posted by on August 8, 2012 in ASIA, Japan, NORTH AMERICA

 

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Armed forces of Syria to launch counter attack after FSA enters Aleppo: Erdogan rattled

Armed forces of Syria to launch counter attack after FSA enters Aleppo: Erdogan rattled 

Murad Makhmudov and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The government of Syria is fighting for its survival because of outside forces destabilizing this nation.  Therefore, the armed forces of Syria are bracing themselves for an important counter attack against Islamists who have entered Aleppo in vast numbers. This reality shouldn’t be ignored but politicians in Washington, London, Ankara and Paris are maintaining their pro-Saudi Arabia and Qatar agenda.

President Bashar al-Assad fully understands that when journalists are deliberately killed by FSA terrorists and when refugees are also killed in Damascus by the same forces; that this doesn’t even enter the radar in Washington. Likewise, when political ministers were killed by terrorists the anti-Syria nations didn’t even bat an eyelid. On the contrary many international politicians and journalists gloated that the days of President Assad were numbered.

However, the Syrian armed forces have fought back against FSA terrorists, Islamists, covert operatives and other sinister forces which are aimed at weakening Syria on the bequest of Washington and Riyadh. Thousands of Syrian soldiers from all faith groups have sacrificed themselves in order that Syria can remain independent and free from foreign control. Therefore, despite the mounting months, outside meddling, media wars, economic blockade, terrorism, and outside forces supporting sectarianism – the Syrian army on the whole remains loyal to President Assad.

Prime Minister Cameron of the United Kingdom met Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey but clearly he missed a golden opportunity to plead with Erdogan to stop violating the sovereignty of Cyprus. Instead both political leaders maintained their anti-Syria rhetoric. Cameron stated that “the very real concerns we have that the regime is about to carry out some truly appalling acts in and around the city of Aleppo.” He negated to mention that the crisis in Aleppo is based on the FSA moving into this city. Also, the brutal murders of refugees by the FSA skipped the mind of Cameron, just like the massacres of black Africans by rebel forces in Libya “on the watch” of the United Kingdom and other nations.

The leader of Turkey once more reminded the world how immature this politician really is. Erdogan stated that“In Aleppo itself the regime is preparing for an attack with its tanks and helicopters ….my hope is that they’ll get the necessary answer from the real sons of Syria.”  It is worth noting that not only is Turkey still violating international law by its illegal occupation of Northern Cyprus – but tens of thousands of Kurds and their villages have also been destroyed by countless different governments of this country. Indeed it is reported that several thousand Kurdish villages have been wiped from the map over the last few decades. However, this and the invasion of Cyprus are tolerated because Turkey is in NATO.

Similar leaders from nations which have been responsible for the deaths of countless numbers in many nations followed the Erdogan line. In other words, Western politicians want the Syrian government to accept that the FSA can kill them in terrorist attacks and that the same terrorists can control major cities. It is not only absurd but it is credulous that major international media agencies are spreading this propaganda on behalf of nations supporting international terrorism and sectarianism.

Recently the Russian Foreign Minister, Lavrov, was visibly riled by the US State Department which implied that terror acts were only natural given the prevailing conditions in Syria. Lavrov responded by commenting that“This is direct endorsement of terrorism. How are we supposed to understand that?

Lavrov continued by stating that This is a sinister position – I cannot find words to express our attitude towards that….In other words this means ‘We are going to support such acts of terrorism until the UNSC does when we want.” 

However, given the reality that America forgave the Bosnia and Saudi Arabia ratlines with regards to the fact that the majority of Islamists who did September 11 emanating from Saudi Arabia. Alongside the fact that many of these very same Islamists had been on the same side of America in Bosnia, then anything is possible from political leaders in Washington. The same applies to the allies of America assisting in the deaths of American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan respectively. This applies to Islamists utilizing vast areas of Pakistan alongside the deaths of many American soldiers in Iraq because of the Saudi Arabian angle. Despite this, the US and Saudi Arabia have a strong relationship but Pakistan is disillusioned because of the endless drone attacks which have killed many innocent people in Pakistan.

Hillary Clinton made it clear that once the FSA stays in control of parts of Syria then ratlines can be poured into these areas in order to crush the armed forces of Syria. Turkey, the nation which “ran to NATO” after a plane was shot down by Syria, is hiding behind NATO and its friendship with America by allowing the FSA to obtain military arms and training. Therefore, it is essential for the government of President Assad to retake Aleppo from FSA terrorists.

If the armed forces of Syria can crush the FSA in Aleppo and a real agreement is made whereby the FSA is forced out of major cities – then a political solution can be found whereby the violence ceases. However, if the FSA stays in control of important parts of Syria then clearly outside nations will use these areas in order to attack Damascus in the future.

In the last few weeks the FSA launched attacks against the cities of Damascus and Aleppo but this is being manipulated and turned on its head. After all, how can you blame the government based in Damascus for defending their country from an organization which keeps on spreading its carnage throughout major cities in Syria?

 

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

 

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Tokyo fashion and vibrant Beijing: Roberto Cavalli and expansion in Northeast Asia

Tokyo fashion and vibrant Beijing: Roberto Cavalli and expansion in Northeast Asia

Kanako Itamae, Michel Lebon and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Roberto Cavalli towards late 2011 opened a new store in the exquisite area of Aoyama in Tokyo. Other companies like Akris, Bally, Freitag and many more also targeted the vibrant city of Tokyo in the same year. In 2012 the continuing growth of Roberto Cavalli can be seen throughout Northeast Asia by the recent opening of a new store in Beijing, China.

It is clear that in recent years the popularity of major cities in China like Beijing and Shanghai, and a host of others, are attracting the crème de la crème of international fashion companies. Therefore, Roberto Cavalli recently opened the first phase of a new store in the vibrant city of Beijing.

Roberto Cavalli commented that “Beijing is becoming one of the most vibrant and glamorous capitals in the world. It was time to open a Roberto Cavalli boutique to give the possibility to my many Chinese fans to discover my world in its entirety. For years, the most beautiful movie actresses of this country have loved wearing my collections on the international red carpet … Now my fashion and my style will be accessible to all. The femininity and beauty of Asian women has always inspired me …”

It is clear that Roberto Cavalli speaks from the heart because his words hit a chord immediately. When Roberto Cavalli spoke about Tokyo he stated that “Tokyo is on the world’s stage of fashion, glamour, and sophistication.  This is a city of energy and inspiration.” He continued by stating that “I wanted to create a boutique in which elegance dominates, for both women and for men, in a welcoming and exclusive atmosphere, in which each person can totally fulfill their dreams and desires. I have always been extremely interested in Japanese culture…..”

Therefore, the vibrant reality of both Beijing and Tokyo appealed greatly to Roberto Cavalli. Equally important alongside the trendy reality of both major cities is the purchasing power which is enormous. Also, like Roberto Cavalli commented For years, the most beautiful movie actresses of this country have loved wearing my collections,” and now his new collections are open to the people of Beijing and Tokyo.

The new Roberto Cavalli store in Beijing is based in the highly acclaimed arcade area of the Peninsula Hotel. Therefore, just like Roberto Cavalli picked Aoyama in Tokyo because of sophistication, style, and the richness of architecture. He also decided on this part of Beijing because it is known for exquisite brands which sell luxury products to eager clients.

April 18, 2012, was the initial opening time whereby the first phase was implemented and the second phase is hoping to be finished by early 2013. It is reported that once everything is put into place then Roberto Cavalli will visit Beijing.

In an article published on http://fibre2fashion.com it is stated that “The Beijing store hosts the women’s and men’s prêt-à-porter collections, as well as the accessories, eyewear, perfumes, time-wear and kidswear collections. The layout of the space has been specifically designed in such a way to emphasize the various product categories present in the store.”

Once everything is completed then the ground floor will cater for fashionable ladies and the basement area will cater for stylish men who adore quality in abundance. Also, the store will provide a special VIP room whereby individuals will be fully cared for in their requests for finding new and beautiful clothes. At the same time, great detail will be put on the design of the store and the same applies to the layout. Therefore, for fashion lovers it will be a great experience in trendy Beijing.

In an earlier article by Modern Tokyo Times related to why Roberto Cavalli picked Aoyama in Tokyo it was stated that “Also, you have stylish and exquisite shopping stores in this exclusive fashion district which includes Boutique W, Dress Camp, Flair Aoyama, Loveless and other stunning shopping stores. Therefore, Roberto Cavalli picked an ideal location because the proximity of Aoyama to Omotesando, Harajuku and Shibuya means the entire area is awash with creativity, exquisite boutiques, energy, sophistication, changing styles and one long and continuous fashion scene, which would grace any major city in the world.

Therefore, it is clear that Roberto Cavalli thought deeply before picking ideal locations for his new stores in Beijing and Tokyo. True to nature, he picked places based on sophistication, grace and panache.

 

 

Roberto Cavalli Aoyama Boutique, SS Minami Aoyama 1/2F, 5-5-4.

http://www.robertocavalli.com/

www.net-a-porter.com/Roberto_Cavalli

AOYAMA SHOPPING LINKS TO HELP TOKYOITES AND TOURISTS

http://www.japan-hotels.ws/tokyo/aoyama/shopping.htm

http://www.aoyama-net.com/fashionmap/index.htm  – Map of where the fashions companies are

http://tokyofashion.com/tag/aoyama/    – Aoyama fashion

http://www.fibre2fashion.com/news/fashion-news/newsdetails.aspx?news_id=110224

Lee Jay Walker helped in the article related to background information.

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com  

http://moderntokyotimes.com 

 
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Posted by on August 8, 2012 in ASIA, EUROPE, Japan

 

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Syria: Christians fleeing to government areas from Sunni Islamic terrorist networks

Syria: Christians fleeing to government areas from Sunni Islamic terrorist networks

Murad Makhmudov, Jibril Khoury and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The American led invasion of Iraq led to the demise of all non-Muslim minorities because the brutal reality of Sunni Islamic terrorism meant that they were easy targets. Similarly, Muslims also fled their homes and homeland in vast numbers in order to escape radical Sunni Islamic terrorist movements. Many of these refugees fled to different parts of Iraq and to other nations. Syria figured prominently for many refugees fleeing the “political vacuum” in Iraq which led to sectarianism, terrorism, chaos, and a complete breakdown of society.

In Syria the dual forces of important conservative Sunni Islamic dominated nations and leading Western powers, are conspiring together in order to further their respective agendas. Therefore, both forces have unleashed terrorism and sectarianism against the central government of Syria once a “political vacuum” emerged throughout the region. This combined Western and Sunni Islamic force is manipulating events in order to further their respective geopolitical objectives.

For Saudi Arabia and Qatar both nations are still smarting over the rise of powerful Shia political forces in Iraq. They both fear that Iran could utilize the religious angle in order to influence the Levant under a different branch of Islam. This means that Saudi Arabian is viewing itself to be the guardian of its version of Sunni Islam and this can be seen by its political power projections in Bahrain and Yemen respectively, whereby the Shia are viewed with contempt. Turkey, on the other hand which persecutes Alevi Muslims, is playing a more opportunist role because in the past this nation had favorable relations with Iran and Syria. However, the crisis in Syria which was encouraged and then militarily supported by outside powers, showed the real “hand of Turkey” which is angered about the current political situation in Iraq.

The weakening of Syria and creating another unstable and weak nation in the Middle East sounds like a golden opportunity for Israel. In the past secular forces in Egypt and Syria had threatened the existence of Israel. However, the Gulf nations have remained rather placid and clearly Saudi Arabia doesn’t have any intentions on spreading radical Salafi Islam and terrorism against Israel internally. In saying that, Saudi Arabia’s influence is growing in Gaza but the strong bonds between America and Saudi Arabia remains firm despite areas of negativity.

America, Israel, and Saudi Arabia, all want to decrease the influence of Iran in Bahrain, Lebanon, and Syria respectively. The major “jewel in the crown” is Syria because this nation is the last independent secular nation in the Arabic speaking world which had powerful central functioning bodies. Therefore, if the Bashar al-Assad government collapses a new Sunni Muslim sharia state will emerge and alter the political and religious landscape.

The situation of Christians, Shabaks, Mandaeans, Yazidis, and the role of women, have all suffered badly in Iraq since the American led invasion. Similarly, this once powerful nation is but “a pale shadow of its past.” In truth, since outside meddling began it is clear that you don’t have a central state which is powerful throughout Iraq. Instead, you have a nation which is divided on religious and ethnic grounds, and other factors. The ongoing chaos in Egypt means that this powerful nation is also in a weakened state and the same applies to Libya and Tunisia. Indeed, currently the Middle East resembles a region which is weak and fragmenting quickly because of the continuing manipulation of events by outside forces.

Coptic Christians in Egypt face an uncertain future because of the power struggle between the Muslim Brotherhood, Salafists, and the return of the “old regime.” Ironically, the return of the “old regime” may happen after the presidential election concludes with a winner. Either way, it is clear that tensions will continue to erupt in major cities like Cairo and Alexandria. Therefore, the functioning central state and the army face an uphill struggle to regain the trust of many segments within Egyptian society. In the meantime, secularists, socialists, Coptic Christians, and other areas within Egyptian society, are worried about the growing influence of the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists – with Salafi Islamists being the main concern.

Recent events in Syria continue to highlight the precarious situation for Christian and Muslim minorities in this part of the Middle East. All fear the Iraq scenario because many different Sunni Islamic terrorist networks are spreading their hatred towards different religious minority communities. The plight of Middle Eastern Christianity and minority faiths outside of Islam and within Islam, all face a bleak future if the central government of Syria is defeated by the combined forces of leading Western and Sunni Islamic nations. Also, mainstream Sunni Islam faces the genuine threat of radical Sunni Islamic forces which have turned on moderate Sunni Muslim forces in northern Nigeria, Somalia, Pakistan, and in other nations.

Russia Today (RT) commented that “The Christian minority in Syria is facing a growing threat and thousands are being forced to flee their homes as they face harassment and discrimination from radical Islamist factions of the opposition.”

“At least 9,000 Christians from the western Syrian city of Qusayr were forced to seek refuge after an ultimatum from a local military chief of the armed opposition, Abdel Salam Harba, Fides News Agency,reports.”

Catholic priests in Qusayr have openly stated that they heard the threats against the Christian community from Sunni Islamic minarets who are ordering their flock to oppress and persecute Christians. A further 10,000 Christians reside near Qusayr in surrounding villages and clearly you may have a further exodus of Christians in this part of Syria.

Another interesting aspect of this is that it is reported that Christians are fleeing various different Sunni Islamic armed groups. This in turn may lead to future tensions between the so-called Free Syrian Army (FSA) and a patchwork of different Sunni Islamic terrorist networks. The FSA is being supported by outside nations in order to overthrow the government of Syria and in the past this movement was also implicated in cleansing Christians and other minorities. However, just like in Bosnia, whereby one Muslim force was loyal to the Bosnian Serbs, this may be pointing to even more fragmentation. Therefore, if the central government is defeated then chaos will be the most likely outcome along with enormous sectarian bloodletting.

Nations that have instigated this chaos should be held accountable for the crimes they have unleashed against the people of Syria. Now, many different outside nations are fostering different terrorist groups and at the same time Saudi Arabia and Qatar are exporting their version of militant Sunni Islam. The Sunni Islamic terrorist networks in Iraq also loathe all minorities and moderate versions of Sunni Islam. For Christians and all minorities another Iraq is on the cards, whereby rich cultures and religious groups will be decimated because of the folly of outside nations.

It is noticeable that Christians are fleeing to Syrian government controlled areas in order to be protected by the Syrian armed forces. Of course, this fact will not mean anything to leaders in America, the United Kingdom, and France. The same applies to the mass media, shameful human rights so-called organizations like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, and international political leaders; which are fueling sectarianism and encouraging a bombing campaign against the government of Syria.

All leading major religious figures in Syria have spoken out against outside meddling but their voices are being ignored. Instead, the flow of money from the proxies of America, keep on supporting all “the dark forces” in Syria. The Russian Federation is doing everything in its power to reach a peaceful solution and to reduce the bloodshed. However, given past history, then the future looks bleak for Syria unless friendly nations really support this nation politically, economically, and militarily.

President Bashar al-Assad introduced political and constitutional reforms during the crisis, which is very rare given the seriousness of the situation. Bashar al-Assad also welcomed observers from the United Nations and clearly he is open to changes which will benefit Syria. Despite this, outside nations have done everything in their power by manipulating the media, spreading poverty by enforcing an economic blockade, funding terrorist organizations, sending covert operatives, and using foreign nations to build up the FSA and other sinister forces. The upshot of all this is more violence and carnage and now just like in Iraq different minorities are fleeing radical Sunni Islamists and criminal elements within the opposition.

 

http://www.rt.com/news/syria-christians-exodus-opposition-778/

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

 

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Iraq and Syria blighted by terrorism: United States failed state domino system

Iraq and Syria blighted by terrorism: United States “failed state domino system”

Murad Makhmudov, Boutros Hussein and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The United States led invasion of Iraq and the dismantling of the main political party created many enormous vacuums. Over one hundred thousand citizens have been killed since this period and like usual the United States enters a conflict and then after creating “forces it can’t control,” it then leaves by putting enormous spin on reality. However, the United States learns little because today individuals like Hillary Clinton and Susan Rice are on the frontline in spreading disinformation about Syria in order to unleash fresh carnage on this secular nation.

In Washington and within many so-called “think-tanks” which do little apart from “think,” they can’t get past the “Iran bogeyman” which is largely invented by hysterical individuals. Alongside this are Saudi Arabia and Salafists which are spreading their negative influence throughout the Middle East. Indeed, given the fact that major players like the Russian Federation, China, Iraq, Iran, and many others, are all against the belligerent parties in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey, which are spreading terrorism to Syria. It just highlights the enormous “blinkers” on powerful individuals and “think-tanks” which are blighted by decades of self-made delusions

The military armed forces of Syria are dying in order to protect the independence of their “beloved country.” However, the armed forces of America have been betrayed by their own government and media outlets which don’t question reality. Military personnel in America and Syria joined the armed forces to protect their respective nations from outside nations which threaten their respective sovereignty.

Yet in Iraq the biggest international Sunni Islamic jihadist networks came from Saudi Arabia. These Islamists entered Iraq in order to kill American soldiers, kill Shia Muslims, persecute Christian minorities, and to spread a draconian version of Sunni Islam which deems other thought patterns to be un-Islamic. Similarly, American forces were “lambs to the slaughter” in Afghanistan because Sunni Islamic terrorist networks had countless bases in north-West Pakistan. Therefore, just like September 11 was mainly done by Saudi nationals, American civilians and military personnel were mainly being killed because of their so-called allies in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.

However, despite everything, nothing is learnt because Saudi Arabia and Qatar are funding terrorists, mercenaries, and covert operatives, against secular Syria. Strangely, if the Sunni Islamic nations of Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar get their way, then the winner will be radical Sunni Islamic networks which will impose new draconian laws on the people of Syria. Therefore, the Sunni Islamic networks which fought against the military of the United States in Iraq are now being supported by a strange alliance of America, France, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Israel, the United Kingdom, and Turkey.

The losers in Syria will be all Syrians who support independence, religious freedom, modernization, and a strong powerful nation state. Alawites, Christians, and other minorities, have much to fear and the same applies to women who will suffer greatly. In Free Syrian Army (FSA) held areas minority communities have fled their brutality in order to be protected by the armed forces of Syria. Indeed, the FSA which is a terrorist/mercenary fighting force is even using Christian churches for being military stockpiles. This will not concern Saudi Arabia which supports killing all apostates from Islam to Christianity but it should raise serious issues outside this most draconian nation in the world – however, just like September 11 and the reality of Iraq, everything will probably be swept under the carpet.

In Iraq this nation is still blighted by various Sunni Islamic terrorist networks which just like in Syria are a threat to mainstream Sunni Islam and all progressive forces. Islamists are opposed to all forms of moderation, critical thinking, and thought patterns outside their fundamentalist mind-set. Therefore, mainstream Sunni Muslim religious leaders are also attacked and killed by Islamists. This can be seen by Islamists who have killed moderate Sunni Muslim individuals in northern Nigeria, southern Russia, Iraq, Pakistan, and in other nations like in Somalia.

The upshot of meddling in Afghanistan and supporting radical Sunni Islamists in the 1980s and 1990s can be seen by September 11 and the creation of the Taliban. If this was the “right side of history” then something is wrong. After all, supporting and training pathological killers in Afghanistan in the 1980s only furthered the cause of the most dangerous and reactionary ideology on this planet. However, in this period of history the Taliban, Al Qaeda, and other unsavory movements, were supported by policy makers in America, the United Kingdom, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and other nations.

September 11 was about an organization which wanted to bite the hand that had trained it and fed it in the past. Nobody can doubt that the CIA and other operatives from nations like the United Kingdom and Pakistan had trained radical Sunni Islamic networks in Afghanistan. Yet after September 11 “the two convenient forces” now clashed in Afghanistan and Iraq despite America being open to political dialogue with the Taliban.

However, under the “Obama doctrine” the United States is once more on the side of terrorist networks. Therefore, former Libyan jihadists who went to Iraq to kill American forces were now supported against Gaddafi because of a “marriage of convenience.” Not surprisingly, many Gaddafi loyalists and black Africans have been massacred in this nation and today Libya is nothing more than a patchwork of various militias whereby the central state is extremely weak.

Despite this, the same Sunni Islamic networks and Western political leaders in America, France, and the United Kingdom, are once more working in tandem against secular Syria. Of course, these Western nations know that Christians, Shabaks, Yazidis, and Mandeaens have suffered greatly along with the entire population in Iraq. Similarly, outside meddling in Afghanistan in the 1980s is still the main factor behind the crisis in this county today and the same applies to the destabilization of north-west Pakistan. Therefore, it is essential that Syria is supported in order to stop the “failed state domino system” from weakening another nation.

In the last few days in Iraq many Shia Muslim pilgrims have been slaughtered because of several terrorist attacks. These people were just innocent Shia Muslim pilgrims who wanted to visit important mosques and pray to God. Sunni Islamists didn’t care if they killed innocent Shia Muslims or Sunni Muslims during these terrorist attacks despite the sectarian nature. In their world, all Muslims and non-Muslims are deemed to be infidels if they don’t follow their rigid path based on indoctrination, persecution, enslavement of women, and denying all forms of liberty. However, these very same Islamists are now being used against secular Syria because of “a new marriage of convenience” but just like in Afghanistan in the past, you can’t just “switch off” this “marriage of convenience.”

Political leaders in Iraq fully understand this deadly reality because the threat of terrorism is a daily reality. Not surprisingly, the leadership of Iraq is against outside meddling in Syria. After all, in the last five days over one hundred Shia Muslim pilgrims have been killed by the “Islamic State of Iraq” which is a patchwork of various terrorist groups, including al-Qaeda.

In the Shula district of Iraq innocent Shia Muslim pilgrims were killed by the brutal forces of Sunni Islamic terrorism. Ahmed Maati, a police officer who saw the carnage, commented that “We rushed to the scene, there were dismembered bodies, shoes, plastic bags, women’s robes left all around, and people were screaming everywhere.”

This same evil is now being supported by Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey, against secular Syria. Statements in Washington, London, and Paris, are instigating this mayhem along with major media organizations. Therefore, another “marriage of convenience” threatens to overwhelm Syria and its rich mosaic of various Muslim, Christian, and Druze communities.

Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed in past meddling in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya. Now the same nations and patchwork of “axis of evil” are intent on dismantling Syria. In each case the scenario is more terrorism, sectarianism, persecution of various ethnic/religious groups, deterioration of the rights of women, and failed states which no longer have complete sovereignty over the whole of the nation state. Despite this, the same nations that belong to this “axis of evil,” along with the same media outlets and institutions involved in covert areas, are all clambering to destroy the rich mosaic of Syria.

Iraq fully understands the pain and suffering caused by terrorist networks and for this reason the political leaders of this country are against outside meddling in Syria. It is time to end the “failed state domino” and to protect diversity rather than supporting the forces which seek to enslave diversity.

 

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Syria and Russia: Putin remains firm and highlights hypocrisy – reality of Kosovo, Iraq, and Afghanistan

Syria and Russia: Putin remains firm and highlights hypocrisy – reality of Kosovo, Iraq, and Afghanistan

Boutros Hussein and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

President Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation is highlighting the need to resolve international disputes through the proper channels of international law and diplomacy. On the other hand, many political leaders in America appear all too hasty to start another major war and create yet another failed state. Vladimir Putin commented about this reality and given the facts of Afghanistan, Kosovo, Iraq, and Libya; then it would take a brave individual to disagree.

Iraq even today can’t hold a major international conference without spending vast resources on protecting any specific event from the threat of terrorism. Obviously, the fact that the leaders of America, the United Kingdom, France, and others, have to sneak into Afghanistan and back out again quickly highlights the complete failure of decades of Western meddling. Indeed, Afghanistan under Najibullah was more secular and progressive compared with the current reality of this nation.

Modern day Afghanistan is based on continuing feudalism, a land where apostates face death, women throughout most of the nation remain discriminated against, and the Taliban can strike at any moment. On top of this, you still have a major heroin problem and the central government is not only weak, it is corrupt and is increasingly more conservative. Therefore, since Western and Sunni Islamic states began to meddle into Afghanistan they have done nothing but spread terrorism and a dangerous ideology during the first stage. Then after September 11, former allies have become estranged friends and this notably applies to the relationship between America and Pakistan.

Similarly, in Libya many atrocities have been committed by the new power brokers. Indeed, it is difficult to state “power brokers” because various militias and regions have their own power bases. Therefore, the central authority is very weak and clearly tensions throughout Libya remain. Also, many black Africans were lynched by the so-called progressive forces in the early period. Today, meanwhile, many allegations of torture have come to the fore and very little progress is being made.

Vladimir Putin therefore is disillusioned by the constant posturing of certain nations towards bombing and supporting covert operations against independent nations. In Kosovo, the United States and United Kingdom supported Hashim Thaci who is tainted by the organ scandal. Also, Kosovo remains to be a land where Orthodox Christians can’t travel freely in the place of their birth and criminality remains a fact of life.

Vojin Joksimovich wrote in Modern Tokyo Times, regarding the organ scandal in Kosovo, that “In this era of WikiLeaks the UN report dated October 30, 2003 was leaked.  France 24 TV channel was one of several media outlets to reveal the content of this confidential report. Even this author managed to get a copy of this 29 page report. The report originated from Eamonn Smyth, Head of ICTY Mission in Skopje and Pristina to Patrick Lopez Terres, Chief of the ICTY Investigations. The report says that 100-300 mostly Serbian men were abducted and taken by truck/van to detention facilities in Albanian towns of Kukes and Tropoje. Beginning in August 1999 some of these captives (24-100) was transferred from Northern Albania to secondary detention facilities (private homes and rough industrial compounds) in central Albania, mainly near the towns of Burrel and Peshkopi. Then they were moved to a private house south of Burrel that was setup as a makeshift clinic. There, medical equipment and personnel were used to extract body organs from the abductees, who then died. Their remains were buried nearby. The organs were transported to Rinas airport near Tirana. It should be noted that the airport was under the NATO control. A small number of female captives from Kosovo, Albania and Eastern Europe were also taken to the clinic. In addition to abductees taken to Albania alive, an unknown number of bodies of Serbian civilians killed in Kosovo were transported to Albania and buried in remote locations. The last delivery of captives was reported in spring or early summer 2000.

“The report identifies at least eight sources, all ethnic Albanians from Kosovo and Montenegro who served in the KLA. In the report they were listed with numbers as their identities were withheld. Four, who have directly participated in the transport of at least 90 Serbs, provided very detailed accounts of their roles including the exact dates. Of these, three sources delivered captives to the house/clinic south of Burrel. Two have participated in the disposal of human remains and one who has participated in the delivery of body parts to Rinas airport. The transports and surgical procedures were carried out with the knowledge and/or active involvement of mid-level and senior KLA officers. Doctors from Kosovo as well as an Arab doctor were involved. The operation was supported by the men with links to the Albanian secret police operatives of the government of Sali Berisha. Maps of the site locations were included. 10 Serbian victims were identified by name.”

Diana Johnstone commented that “Human rights campaigners in the self-righteous Western democracies are intransigent when it comes to ending what they call ‘the culture of impunity’ so long as it involves, say, Africa. But their own impunity and that of their clients seems more secure than ever.” This comment also applies to the current reality in Syria whereby international terrorists and outside nations are spreading sectarianism in Syria.

Francois Hollande, the new President of France, is already highlighting “a war mongering touch” within just a short period in office. He, like political leaders in America and the United Kingdom, are all too keen to blame the Syrian government for any misdeed. However, when the Free Syrian Army (FSA) which is a fusion of mercenaries, terrorists, and criminals, does massacres and ignites sectarianism then the same Western powers remain silent. This isn’t surprising given their “partners in crime” – Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Qatar – are all assisting in the terrorist and sectarian ratlines engulfing parts of Syria.

President Hollande also insists that President Bashar al-Assad must leave office but Vladimir Putin openly states that this depends on the “will” of the Syrian people. Hollande, just like President Obama, promised “a new world” based on greater transparency and international dialogue. However, behind the rhetoric of both are the same failed policies of supporting international terrorism and giving a “green light” to outside nations to spread their carnage.

Vladimir Putin dismisses many negative comments by certain political leaders who desire to enforce “their thinking” on the people of Syria. He stated that “If you think you can decide that for other nations, go to Cairo now and take part in the Egyptian presidential elections. You can’t do that! Nor can you or anyone else do that in Syria.”

Vladimir Putin further commented that “Why do we think that if we push someone from the current leadership away from power, prosperity will arrive there tomorrow?”

“What is happening in Libya? We all know what kind of a tyrant [Muammar] Gaddafi was…But do you know what was happening in Sirte when militants entered the city? Why do you not write about that? Has humanitarian wellbeing settled there?”

Many citizens in America, the United Kingdom, France, and other nations, are fed up with constant wars, media manipulations, and covert operations involving their elected leaders who are acting undemocratically. Of course, many will agree, but overall the vast majority is disillusioned despite all the domestic propaganda. After all, modern day Afghanistan, Iraq, Kosovo, and Libya, are all failed states or patched up states (Kosovo not recognized by the majority of international nations). On top of this, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and terrorism is a fact of life in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria because of outside meddling. Meanwhile, an organ tainted leader in Kosovo was supported – implying that killing individuals for organs is acceptable to leaders in Washington and London – because the same individual is free to visit America. Yet while he is free Orthodox Christian children in Kosovo have to be protected if they want to travel freely.

If killing hundreds of thousands of people is deemed fine, increasing narcotic problems (Afghanistan and Kosovo), creating a vacuum whereby terrorists flourish, and then taking the independence away from nations which were sovereign; then by all means, support individuals like Susan Rice, the American representative. However, if you are internationalist and support independence and “a collective approach” when the time is needed – then surely Vladimir Putin makes a million times more sense than the posturing of Hillary Clinton and Susan Rice.

The brutal murders of Muammar Gaddafi and Najibullah in Afghanistan highlight the bloody nature of the forces that were supported to overthrow both individuals. In the case of Kosovo you had political elites within the Albanian leadership who were involved in killing individuals for organs. Meanwhile, Saddam Hussein was taunted and goaded before being killed by the new state apparatus of Iraq.

Saddam Hussien and Muammar Gaddafi were once supported by the same nations which turned against them. It is clear that many atrocities took place under Saddam Hussein but during his time he served the West and Saudi Arabia well by keeping Iran in check. It is this utter hypocrisy and ruthlessness which makes individuals question their-own-so-called political leaders. Therefore, is it progressive to support terrorism and sectarianism against the Syrian people?

Vladimir Putin praised the Kofi Annan plan not because of the current reality on the ground which is being made worse by outside meddling. He did this on the grounds that Kofi Annan is seeking a solution to a complex problem based on political dialogue and not war.

Vladimir Putin stated during his meeting with Chancellor Merkel of Germany, that ”Russia has a good and long-standing relationship with Syria…We support Syria’s stability, sovereignty and people, and all parties should support the plan of the UN envoy Kofi Annan.”

”We have to stop talking about aborting Annan’s plan…Our mission is to end violence in Syria by all sides, and we agreed with Merkel that Russia, Germany and our partners have to de-escalate violence and help Annan achieve that.”

”We believe that we can hold dialogue at the United Nations Security Council, and sure we’ll have contacts with the Syrian leadership and will be in contact with the countries interested in this issue…We will do our best to reach a nonviolent, political solution to the crisis in Syria.”

It is hoped that the Russian Federation will not cave in to international pressure from Washington, London, Paris, Ankara, and Riyadh. Syria needs to be “a line which isn’t walked over” by hypocrites who have supported tainted individuals involved in organ scandals, covertly supported terrorists, remain quiet about the lynching of black Africans in Libya, and other vile episodes. The situation in Syria is being made complex because of the dangerous terrorist and sectarian policies of nations like Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar – along with the usual players – this must end because history is repeating itself too much.  

 

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Russia in the vanguard against America and NATO: Missile Defense System and Japan

Russia in the vanguard against America and NATO: Missile Defense System and Japan

Murad Makhmudov and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The two-party system in America which maintains the endless power mechanisms century after century, finds it difficult to support a world based on special interests. Instead, irrespective if a Democratic government or Republican government, it is one endless system based on the containment of perceived threats. Therefore, President Obama is following on from George W. Bush with regards to the missile defense system. It is once more apparent that politicians in Washington care little about a world based on mutual respect, special interests, understanding the geopolitics of other major powers, and so forth.

According to America and NATO the missile defense system is aimed at protecting nations from Iran and North Korea. This is clearly manipulating reality because how is North Korea a threat to mainland America and NATO members?  After all, which nation and military alliance invades other nations and controls vast military resources? Yes, of course this applies to America and NATO. However, in the world of “reality” and “unreality,” political leaders in Washington just have to keep on pressing ahead with their power mechanisms along with NATO.

Iran could not even defeat Iraq during the brutal war between both nations (1980-1988). Also, which nations did Iran and North Korea invade in the last 50 years? Of course, the situation on the Korean peninsula is delicate but the status quo is maintained because of many factors. Indeed, if North Korea collapsed then this would highlight the “sham” of the real objectives of America in northeast Asia. After all, the bigger picture for America is containing China and the Russian Federation.

Therefore, ironically, the status quo on the Korean peninsula isn’t such a bad thing for America. If North Korea did collapse, then what would be the reasons behind the continuing presence of American forces in Japan and South Korea? Japan, on the other hand, is concerned about nuclear weapons in the hands of North Korea and the ongoing militarization of the armed forces of China.

Japan also is beset with territorial disputes with China, the Russian Federation, South Korea, and Taiwan. However, Japan and Taiwan have very good relations and the economic angle between China and Japan is continuing to strengthen. Despite this, Japan is rightly concerned about the militarization of China. Also, many other regional nations which share territorial disputes with China feel the same. Therefore, it is essential for Japan to build-up stronger relations with India, Indonesia, Vietnam, and other nations. At the same time, Japan also needs to develop stronger ties with China providing this is reciprocal.

Turning back to the proposed missile defense system by America and NATO, it is clear that this is raising tensions with Moscow. However, political leaders in Moscow are not interested in “a new Cold War” because the Russian Federation wants to see a world based on greater understanding. This applies to respecting the changing nature of the power dynamics of the twenty-first century and respecting international law.

The economic power of nations who belong to the BRICS group (Brazil, China, India, the Russian Federation, and South Africa) is extremely high. President Hu Jintao of China commented about the BRICS group thatThese countries form an important part of common development of the world, which is conducive to a more balanced world economy, more reasonable international relations, more effective global governance and more durable world peace…..It is consistent with the trend of times characterized by peace, development and co-operation, and fully conducive to building a harmonious world of durable peace and common prosperity.”

Nations which comprise of the BRICS group don’t have a military angle like NATO but these countries want to see a world whereby greater international transparency emerges. The United States have invaded or supported proxies since World War Two in Afghanistan, Angola, Bolivia, Cambodia, Chad, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, East Timor, El Salvador, Haiti, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Laos, Libya, North Korea/South Korea (Korean War), Nepal, Nicaragua, Pakistan/Bangladesh (West Pakistan/East Pakistan war), Panama, Philippines, Syria, Vietnam, and Yugoslavia. The list could have included others but clearly the point is that tens of millions of people have been killed by America’s direct involvement in these conflicts or because of America supporting proxy armies to do its bidding.

Clearly, the world was complex during the Cold War because America and the Soviet Union had no qualms about abusing power mechanisms. Also, in some conflicts America may have had good intentions where the political angle wasn’t the real motive but these are few and far. It also must be stated that other powers have been involved in supporting bloodshed and brutal dictators have also killed untold numbers. However, for political leaders in Washington it is clear that no continent is beyond their meddling and so-called special interests.

NATO for its part is firmly based on the northern hemisphere and of special interests are the Russian Federation, China, Central Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, and the Balkans. Central Asia is an area where America and NATO can reach into the underbelly of China and the Russian Federation therefore this area is of major strategic importance. However, the Russian Federation doesn’t desire to have such hostilities with political leaders in Washington but the encroachment of NATO, despite the demise of the Cold War, is clear evidence that Moscow is deemed with suspicion.

Therefore, Obama’s support of the missile defense system may be “the final nail in the coffin” for Moscow because clearly North Korea and Iran isn’t the issue. Anatoly Serdyukov, Russian Defense Minister, stated that talks with Washington and NATO over the defense missile system were close to a dead end.”

Gen Nikolai Makarov, the Russian defense staff, stated that “A decision to use destructive force pre-emptively will be taken if the situation worsens.” Therefore, once more political leaders in Washington are creating tensions rather than understanding the genuine concerns of other nations. Gen Nikolai Makarov also made it clear that if a European shield came into fruition then Moscow would increase its warheads to be even more destructive. However, this crisis shouldn’t even be on the map and the same applies to NATO expansion despite the demise of the Soviet Union.

Turning back to Japan, a nation which is helping the international community greatly by its economic support of major institutions, for example the United Nations and International Monetary Fund; it is vital that political leaders in Tokyo don’t become embroiled in America’s containment policies of the Russian Federation. After all, Japan and the Russian Federation have much to offer each other. This applies to high technology and major investments from Japan – and from the side of the Russian Federation, it applies to energy pipelines and other natural resources. Therefore, it is essential that both Moscow and Tokyo move closer together because leaders in the Russian Federation don’t have any ill will towards Northeast Asia.

Indeed, if relations began to blossom between Japan and the Russian Federation, then this would strengthen both nations throughout this very strategic region. Japan’s main concerns internationally are China and North Korea. Domestically it applies to energy related issues and implementing a diverse energy policy. Therefore, political leaders in Moscow could wield their influence on China in order to strengthen ties between Japan and China. At the same time, the special relationship between America and Japan should co-exist but within a framework of greater parity for Japan. This would be a win-win situation for Japan because it would create greater stability for the people of Northeast Asia.

It is essential that political leaders in Moscow remain firm and seek to create greater international mechanisms which prevent the ongoing containment policies of Washington and NATO. China, the Russian Federation, Iran, and other nations, within the containment policies of Washington, have American forces within a close proximity of their respective nations. How would Americans feel if these nations did the same and developed bases in Canada and Mexico – and then developed a new defense missile system in the backyard of America – would Americans welcome this?

Political leaders in Moscow and Beijing want more honesty and neither nation is interested in creating tensions with Washington. On the contrary, both nations are seeking greater economic, political, and cultural ties with nations internationally. It is time for political leaders in Washington to escape their ongoing “Cold War mentality” and interventionist policies, which often backfire and cause even more chaos.

Meanwhile for Japan it is essential to maintain its special relationship with America but based on greater parity. At the same time, Japan must develop a greater strategy to overcome territorial disputes with regional nations and to strengthen relations with the Russian Federation. This will help Japan greatly to develop a more diverse energy policy and increase its dealings with China.

The American people for decades have given vast sums to charity projects throughout the world and done so much to help in the area of greater cultural understanding. It is about time that political leaders in Washington followed suit, in order to strengthen international systems which can respond to major events. If change doesn’t occur then more American soldiers will die based on policies which are not related to protecting America. Also, “a new Cold War” will emerge based on the geopolitics of nations which feel threatened by the expansion of America and NATO.

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Syria: terrorist bomb factory blows up and Christian churches destroyed

Syria: terrorist bomb factory blows up and Christian churches destroyed

Murad Makhmudov, Boutros Hussein and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The people of Syria have become the target of “a geopolitical game” by powerful nations in the West and by “Sunni Islamic Wahhabi/Salafi” power games emanating in Saudi Arabia and Qatar, and with Turkey taking the position of both forces. This means that the chances of reaching an internal political solution in Syria, is being reduced by the day because of outside meddling which is fermenting sectarianism. Also, the recent terrorist bomb factory which blew up and killed many individuals in Hama highlights the duplicity of the international community.

After all, just like the military insurrection in Libya, the military arming of terrorists in Syria also happened “overnight” and within a ridiculously short period of time. Therefore, it is abundantly clear that outside meddling; geopolitical games to enter the “vacuum” that opened-up in the Middle East and North Africa; promised deals with military personnel to turn them into mercenaries; the movement of international terrorists via the usual ratlines; and a host of other factors related to “a geopolitical game” and “Sunni Islamic Wahhabi/Salafi” opportunism, have all entered the fray. The upshot of all this is that innocent civilians are being killed and sectarianism is being used in order to weaken Syria because of political and geopolitical factors.

If individuals http://www.sana.sy/eng/337/2012/04/26/414867.htm check this link by the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) then clearly the photos are harrowing. It is important to note that the so-called “Free Syrian Army (FSA)” and terrorists within the FSA, and other terrorist organizations like Al Qaeda, have no qualms in setting up terrorist houses in the middle of housing and heavily built-up areas. They also have no qualms about attacking religious minorities, killing individuals who don’t support their objectives, firing on the armed forces of Syria, and then melting back into built-up areas knowing full well that the armed forces will fire back in order to defend themselves.

The weakness in the Kofi Annan plan, despite good intentions, is that it means that terrorist bases of various Sunni Islamic terrorist organizations and the FSA, have a free rein to maintain and develop their power bases. This is because outside nations are continuing to send military and economic support to a variety of terrorist and mercenary organizations. Therefore, unless these “forces of darkness” are forced out to a special buffer zone inside Turkey and the ratlines of funding terrorism is stopped – then how can political dialogue and the Kofi Annan plan work?

Clearly, nations which are meddling into the internal affairs of Syria desire to see the Kofi Annan plan fail. After all, the deaths of Syrians killing Syrians doesn’t concern them because Western powers have political objectives to pursue and Saudi Arabia and Qatar have religious objectives to implement by stealth – with Turkey being sat in the middle and happy with both situations. This means more violence and the death of innocent civilians who are caught-up in all of this because the FSA and various other terrorists organizations, have built up their forces within major cities.

Therefore, while many international media outlets mention the ongoing crisis in many parts of Syria, not enough are focusing on what it is like under the control of the FSA/terrorist organizations which are spreading their hatred. This is where the picture breaks down because in areas controlled by the government of Syria all individuals, irrespective if Alawite Muslim, Sunni Muslim, Orthodox Christian, Roman Catholic, Druze, or irrespective of having no faith – all reside in peace and based on the mosaic of Syria. In contrast, areas under the control of the so-called opposition are based on sectarianism and destroying the mosaic of Syria.

The Guardian newspaper in the United Kingdom published an interesting article written by Constanze Letsch (link below this article). This writer comments that A few streets down, Ferit’s schoolfriend Ahmet was sitting in his garden, chatting with his parents-in-law, Ibrahim and Meryem, who are from Homs. At the end of February they fled their house in Hamidiyeh, a predominantly Christian neighbourhood, to live with relatives in Tartous, and two weeks ago, they joined their daughter Rana, their three granddaughters and their son-in-law Ahmet in Samandagi.”

“Armed men of the opposition have destroyed all 12 churches in the neighbourhood of Hamidiyeh,” said Ahmet, a master tailor. He added that many houses had been severely damaged, while others had been vacated by people fleeing from the violent conflict in the city.”

“In some cases, opposition members allowed people to take their possessions,” Rana said. “But the insurgents live in the houses now, fighting against the army.”

“Asked if he had recognised any of the armed men, Ibrahim shook his head.”Their faces were covered. Some of them wore bandanas that said: ‘There is no God except Allah.’”

“Meryem said she has been threatened for not wearing a headscarf.”They told us: ‘We will cover you up, too’ and ‘It will be your turn [after the Alevis].’ We are very scared.”

In another article about Syria published by Modern Tokyo Times it was stated that If democrats in the West believe that their version of history is winning, then not only do these people have blinkers on, but more alarming they are supporting forces which are hostile to democracy, religious pluralism, the rights of women, and all progressive forces. The Muslim Brotherhood, Saudi Arabian, and Western alliance, is a “strange bedfellow” if looked at rationally. Therefore, is the alliance based on Western governments supporting Islamism or is it based on naivety, a picture unseen, or other factors?”

“Either way, for Alawites, Christians, the Druze, Sunni Muslims, secularists, women, and so forth; the growing menace of radical Sunni Islam threatens the civilization of Syria and the multi-religious nature of this society. The so-called forces of “democracy” have killed over 2,000 soldiers and police officers in Syria; attacked Christians; threaten the rights of women; and are spreading their terrorism throughout Syria.”

It is essential that the FSA/terrorist organizations are forced out of major cities because until this happens then the bloodshed will just continue. The government of Syria can’t be forced to sit and watch, while terrorists continue to enter the country and internal mercenaries persecute religious minorities and women.

Turning back to the article by Constanze Letsch it was also stated that Mehmet, the owner of a textile shop across the street, said he had had to fire all of his four employees.”Business dropped by 95%. There used to be many Syrians who came for a day or two to shop here, but that has stopped.” He paused. “Many of us want Bashar [al-Assad] to stay, and stability to return to Syria. We were better off before.”

“They are not the only Turks who quietly express support for the regime in Damascus. Religious minorities including Christians, Alevis (a Turkish Muslim sect) and Alawites (their Arabic-speaking counterparts) are increasingly anxious that the government’s active support for Syria’s armed opposition could have a distinctly negative upshot.”

“Cemil Mityasoglu, a Christian wholesale market trader from Antakya, summed it up: “For many Alevis and Christians, Syria seemed like a safe haven. For them it was reassuring to live so close to the Syrian border, knowing that they could always go there if things became ugly in Turkey.”

Whatever the real truth is about the situation in Syria and why so many Syrians have been killed. It clearly can’t be separated by the funding of Saudi Arabia and Qatar to spread radical Sunni Islam in Syria – and the political agreement with certain Western powers and Turkey to enter the “political vacuum,” which was opened by the so-called Arab Spring. The current situation in Syria began because of outside meddling and the ongoing chaos suits their agenda. After all, many outside nations desire direct military intervention in order to not only weaken Syria but to alter the political and religious landscape based on religious fundamentalism.

The religious mosaic of Syria is being threatened and the same applies to the rights of women. It is essential that political reforms come from within the government of Syria and with other political organizations which are opposed to outside meddling and terrorism. If the center in Syria collapses then a future nightmare awaits Syria because over 100,000 people in Iraq were killed and even today terrorism is a daily threat. Similarly, in Afghanistan you have had over 30 years of chaos and untold numbers of people have been killed because of outside meddling. This applies to firstly supporting radical Sunni Islamic terrorism and organizations – and then, after September 11, fighting former allies. Either way, both periods just engulfed the people of Afghanistan and after 30 years the country is worse off than before.

http://www.sana.sy/eng/337/2012/04/26/414867.htm 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/apr/25/tough-times-turks-border-syria

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Japanese art and Bunjinga (Nanga): the influence of China and Korea in the Edo period

Japanese art and Bunjinga (Nanga): the influence of China and Korea in the Edo period

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The Bunjinga school of thought ran deep within the literati of Japan during the Edo period. Bunjin (literati) artists trace their artistic roots to the literati of China during the Song Dynasty (960-1267). However, the differences between the Japanese literati and Chinese literati, is notable because of the opposite side of the coin applying.  Also, the isolationist policies of Japan in the Edo period meant that bunjin artists didn’t have the complete picture of the cultural reality of the Song Dynasty.

Bunjinga is also called Nanga and on the British Museum website it states that “The Japanese Bunjinga school of literati ‘scholar-amateur’ artists flourished in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. It is also known as Nanga (‘Southern painting’). The school was based on the literati movement that developed in China over a long period of time as a reaction against the formal academic painting of the Northern Song dynasty (960-1126). Rather than technical proficiency, literati artists cultivated a lack of affectation in an attempt to tune in to the rhythms of nature. In Japan, this was only partially understood: many Japanese bunjin were simply trying to escape the restrictions of the academic Kanō and Tosa schools while imitating Chinese culture. At first, the only models available were woodblock-printed manuals such as the Kaishien gaden (‘Mustard Seed Garden’) and a few imported Chinese paintings. Some Chinese monks of the ōbaku Zen sect taught painting in Nagasaki. Unlike their Chinese counterparts, the Japanese bunjin were not necessarily carefree artists and scholars from wealthy, bureaucratic backgrounds, and many had to sell their work to make a living.”

The political reality of the Edo period meant that Japanese artists were forbidden to travel to China. This policy was called sakoku (locked country) and clearly this prevented the real study of the Song Dynasty.  Therefore, the free movement of people leaving or entering Japan was enforced strictly and only limited “windows” were open.

Given this, the real terminology should be kaikin (maritime prohibitions) but from the point of view of bunjingaartists, then clearly sakoku created major restrictions in their pursuit of knowledge and reality. Japan wasn’t fully isolated because cultural meeting points happened with the people of Ryuku (Okinawa) and the Ainu. Also, Nagasaki, and a few other places, enabled outside cultural interactions despite the severe limitations on “real interaction” based on the freedom of movement.

Bunjinga artists therefore resided in a world where restrictions were put in place and clearly even in the modern world certain nations are still hostile to outside influences which threaten the status quo. For example, in modern day Saudi Arabia all converts from Islam face death, just like all converts to Christianity faced death during the Edo period. Meanwhile, in North Korea this nation wants to maintain severe restrictions on the outside world based on political motives. In both Saudi Arabia and North Korea many windows are open in the field of trade. However, despite the huge differences of these two nations, you do see aspects of sakokudespite major cultural, political, religious, and other differences in these societies.

Therefore, the world of bunjinga artists in this period of history had severe restrictions to overcome. However, unlike ukiyo-e artists who focused on many aspects of Japanese culture, mythology, history, the spirit world, and so forth; for bunjinga artists their problems were different because of their admiration of Chinese culture. This meant that ukiyo-e artists could connect with the world they knew but for bunjinga artists much of their literati world was clouded by the restrictions of obtaining real knowledge of the world they wanted to portray.

Famous artists who followed the bunjinga school of thought applies to Gion Nankai, Sakaki Hyakusen, Yanagisawa Kien, Okada Beisanjin, Kameda Bosai, Hanabusa Itcho, Ike no Taiga, Watanabe Kazan, Tomioka Tessai, Yosa Buson, Uragami Gyokudo, Tani Buncho, Takahashi Sohei, Okada Hanko, Ki Baitei , Matsumura Goshun, Yokoi Kinkoku (1761-1832), Yamamoto Baiitsu, Nukina Kaioku, Takahashi Sohei, Nakabayashi Chikuto, and many others.

In an earlier article by Modern Tokyo Times it was stated that “This school of thought flourished in the late Edo period and highlights the power of traditional Chinese culture in Japan despite the ongoing isolation of this nation. The bunjinga, the literati according to their mode of thinking, all had one binding feature and this applies to their deep admiration of traditional Chinese culture. This enabled their individuality to be linked together within the ideas and art work of bunjinga concepts.”

The Philadelphia Museum of Art comments that “The mid-eighteenth century in Japan was a time of political and social stability and economic prosperity. The Tokugawa family of military rulers (shogun) was firmly ensconced in the new eastern capital of Edo as the de facto political power, while the emperor reigned as spiritual and cultural sovereign in the ancient imperial capital of Kyoto in western Japan. Regional schools were established to spread the Chinese studies that the central government espoused along with the Confucian-based political system. The study of fields such as Chinese literature, music, and medicine became specializations among the educated elite of the newly rich merchant class as well.”

Therefore, while the Edo period is famous for being isolationist it is abundantly clear that the Tokugawa ruling elites spread the power of Chinese studies. This makes sense given the fact that the political system was Confucian based.

Influence of Korea

The role of Korea in this art movement is often neglected despite cultural interaction and influence which went in both directions. On the Princeton University Press website it is stated (based on the book by Burglind Jungmann) that “It is well known that Japanese literati painting of the eighteenth century was inspired by Chinese styles that found their way to Japan through trade relations. However, because Japanese and American art historians have focused on Japanese-Chinese ties, the fact that Japan also maintained important diplomatic–and aesthetic–relations with Korea during the same period has long been neglected. This richly illustrated, cogently argued book examines the role of Korean embassies in shaping the new Japanese literati style, known as Nanga in Japan.”

“Burglind Jungmann describes the eighteenth-century Korean-Japanese diplomatic exchange and the circumstances under which Korean and Japanese painters met. Since diplomatic relations were conducted on both sides by scholars with a classical Chinese education, Korean envoys and their Japanese hosts shared a deep interest in Chinese philosophy, literature, calligraphy, and painting. Texts, such as Ike Taiga’s letter to Kim Yusöng and Gion Nankai’s poem for Yi Hyön, and accounts by Korean and Japanese diplomats, give a vivid picture of the interaction between Korean and Japanese painters and envoys. Further, the paintings done by Korean painters during their sojourns in Japan attest to the transmission of a distinctly Korean literati style, called Namjonghwa. By comparing Korean, Japanese, and Chinese paintings, the author shows how the Korean interpretation of Chinese styles influenced Japanese literati painters and helped inspire the creation of their new style.”

The book by Burglind Jungmann called Painters as Envoys: Korean Inspiration in Eighteenth-Century Japanese Nanga is very intriguing because the Korean angle is neglected too much. However, cultural interaction within the richness of Chinese, Korean, and Japanese culture, went in all directions. Therefore, irrespective of the alterations which developed because of different cultural concepts within each different society – and within regions of all societies which had different energies and thought patterns – the Korean dimension is a reality and needs to be studied and highlighted more.

Timon Screech (School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London) comments that “This is an important book that will be useful to scholars and students alike. In elegant prose and with excellent scholarship, Burglind Jungmann proposes that Korean amateur painting had a large impact in Japan. This point has never been so closely argued before, in any language. The author has been diligent in finding little-known works in many collections around the world to support her claims. This is the first book on the subject, but it is much more than an introductory work.”

The bunjinga movement is interesting within the context of sakoku (locked country) because it opens up many intriguing questions. Also, the Korean dimension further hints at deep cultural interactions despite policies by the Tokugawa ruling elites.

Therefore, the bunjinga art movement is an area of great richness when it comes to art, thought patterns, cultural interaction, and understanding aspects of Japanese culture during the Edo period. Famous bunjingaartists have also left a rich legacy because of the art they left behind. This article is meant to intrigue people to delve into the many amazing artists who belonged to the bunjinga school of thought and then to focus on the shared civilization of Northeast Asia, despite the unique richness of all societies involved.

 

http://www.philamuseum.org/exhibitions/108.html?page=3

http://press.princeton.edu/titles/7743.html 

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

 

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